There was only one thing that made sense for me to give to you for your gift of 2K followers to me.
I love you. I would not be here without you.
Daddy Steve and Baby Bucky would not be here without you.
So without further ado...
Rating: T (Teen)
Pairing: James “Bucky” Barnes/Steve Rogers
Tags: Meet-Cute, First Meetings, Steve Rogers Feels, POV Steve Rogers, Developing Relationship, Bucky Barnes Feels, POV Bucky Barnes, Fluff, Fluff and Humor, Nat is the best Wingman, Clint is also the best Wingman, Mentions of Past and Toxic Relationship, Insecurities, Only Happy Endings Here
Summary: How it all began.
Bucky doesn’t even hesitate once the beer is set down in front of him, doesn’t even grimace as he swallows down his first swig of it.
“This is disgusting,” he remarks flatly, going in for another gulp. If he drinks more, he’s sure it won’t be long before he doesn’t care about the taste of the beer in the slightest. Then again, was it even possible for him to get drunk from beer? This local IPA that Nat insisted he get makes him hopeful of just that.
“Mmm, good thing we’re not picky,” Nat responds with, reaching for her own glass and tipping it back. Bucky grimaces, agrees to disagree, and instead dips a fried pickle deep into a cup of ranch.
“You know this might be the best decision you’ve ever had. Why talk about our feelings when we can just…eat them?” Bucky asks rhetorically and with a flick of his fingers towards their tabletop. Lamb meatballs, spinach artichoke dip, truffle fries— treat yourself comfort bar food at its finest.
“Right, but also when we were at home like thirty minutes ago you were crying after having communicated with me very clearly what your feelings were so…”
Bucky smiles, taps a few fingers under Nat’s chin two times before reaching for a few fries.
“It’s the best of both worlds, baby.”
It’s been one hell of a week for the two of them, one thing after the other, encouragements of keeping their head up fading and becoming weaker as the days passed. Nat has spent the majority of her time at work, her asshole boss overworking her, taking advantage of her thinning kindness. Bucky has barely seen her this week, their paths crossing between classes and work, showers and breakfast. And with his schedule and his workload from classes, he spent most of his time at the library preparing for Dr. Banner’s midterm exam.
The two of them finally reconnected, Nat crawling into Bucky’s bed once she got home well into Thursday night, Friday morning. It felt good to let his feelings out, to talk to his best friend, to cuddle close and have his hair played with.
“Just us today. We’re gonna do whatever we want to do today, Buck. Fuck everyone else,” Nat had told him, and he wholeheartedly agreed, mind already light from letting out the stress of the week with a good cry.
“Yeah, fuck ‘em…”
Bucky likes this bar. It’s a bit dingey but somehow charming, the music soothing and low, the warm chatter of other patrons surrounding him. It’s comforting and everything that would come to mind if Nat were to suggest a bar, which she had with an easy, “I know one of the bartenders, c’mon.” Bucky is about to give Nat shit for the way the bartender’s eyes lit up when he saw her, for the way he said her name and the way she replied in kind, when Bucky sees him.
Bucky has to pull his eyes away almost immediately as soon as they land on the man at the bar. His chest grows warm and it isn’t because of this bitter beer.
“Holy shit,” he repeats out loud, dropping what’s left of his handful of fries into the basket of friend pickles. He wipes his hand on his jeans, adjusts in his seat, chances a glance back up to the man at the bar.
“Oh my god, did you stutter? Why? What’s—”
“Nat! Don’t look!” he hisses, gives his best attempt to avoid making a scene when Nat turns in search for what it is that Bucky has seen to cause such an immediate reaction. It fails. Nat spots him immediately as well, head slow to move back in Bucky’s directions, eyes wide nonetheless.
Bucky’s cheeks go up in flames. He can feel it where he sits, that throb of color, that wave of sensation. He reaches for his beer, manages to look over it and back at the bar as Nat whistles lowly.
“I know, I know.”
“Jesus fucking Christ, is that your walking wet dream?”
“I don’t…oh my god.”
He doesn’t even have the space in his mind to protest any further, knows anyone who has ever crossed paths with this man would know Bucky is full of shit if he made an attempt to.
Bucky’s never seen anyone so beautiful before in his life.
This man has a face and physique for a runway, a Vogue catalogue, for in front of a camera. His side profile alone has a ball of arousal dropping into Bucky’s stomach like a stone, a boulder, sharp and rugged. A strong nose, a neatly trimmed beard, a pout Bucky can see from here, effortlessly swept back hair. Even sitting down, Bucky knows this man is a large man, that he takes up space in more way than one, is broad.
Bucky swallows heavily.
Casual yet professional, a dark polo that gorgeously clings to curvature of his arms and the span of his shoulders, jeans that miraculously fit and stretch around thighs so thick they make Bucky’s mouth water. A simple pair of brown boots and to top everything off, what Bucky thinks is a watch. Simply looking at him has Bucky wanting to think up incredibly inappropriate thoughts starring this man and this man alone.
Bucky is inexplicably drawn to him.
“Nat, don’t,” he mumbles, eyes not leaving the man at the bar as he speaks and sets his beer down. Nat turns around against, chances another glance of her own.
“Bucky, you have to talk to him.”
“What?” Bucky squeaks, leaning forward in his seat to make himself clear. “Are you insane? Not a chance in hell. He...he's probably just looking at you anyway. Maybe he's...maybe he's not into men!”
Natasha grabs for his wrist, the closest part of him she can get a grip on, leans forward to face him head-on.
“You’re going to talk to that man before we leave here tonight.”
“Thanks, Clint,” Steve sighs as the other man brings him another glass of whiskey, not even the good stuff. That rightfully made Clint’s eyebrows raise when Steve requested it, “Well is fine.”; this isn’t the kind of place to drink shitty whiskey. It is almost painfully harsh, no depth, just pure burn, but it’s what Steve wants in this moment.
Steve is sure his smile falls flat so he covers it up with another drink, nods his head.
“Yeah, yeah I’m…m’okay.”
Clint doesn’t look convinced but nods his head and blessedly leaves it at that and moves onto the next customer. Steve’s sigh is long and is a relief that racks his body. He fills up his lungs with air, holds it momentarily, breathes out, brings his glass back up to his lips.
“Right, Steve but…you’re not happy. And I’m tired of seeing you try and pretend that you are. You know who you are, you know how important having a loving and doting partner is to you. You need to be consumed. That’s just who you are! I hate seeing you go through these patches where you pretend you’re alright with somethin’ physical, but then when the time comes for that conversation, that ‘what is this’ talk, you lie and say you’re fine with what you have with someone because you think you are protecting yourself and saving face. But you’re hurtin’ yourself, man. You’re hurting yourself. I’m sorry…”
Steve hasn’t stopped thinking about Sam’s words since he heard them three nights ago. They’ve kept him up at night, have been ringing through his head, have weighed heavy on his heart. They are words he has been thinking for months, years, words that Sam has tried to slowly tell him over time but in an emotional outburst ended up saying all at once over dinner.
They were long overdue but stung nonetheless. Steve didn’t know who he was trying to fool anymore, words out there for him and the person closest to him to see, crystal clear. He’s spent months bed hopping, trying to make the most out of physical relationships, yearning for more yet pretending he was okay with merely fucking around when that kind of relationship was the last thing he desired.
His age, his job, his lifestyle, his personality—every part of Steve, everything that makes up who he is, is desperate for a partner in life.
He has the house for another person, a stable career, the space in his heart. Maybe this is a wakeup call, one that he has needed for a long time, one that he has been too stubborn to see himself. Sam is right—he doesn’t deserve to take this treatment from himself. His immediate follow-up thought is a negative one, is how difficult it is to find someone who is open to and accepting of his intensity, of how he thoroughly enjoys falling head over heels for someone. People tend to not take to that well, don’t like that about Steve, that he’s an all-or-nothing kind of guy.
Steve is bringing his glass back up to his lips, is ready to toss the rest back and ask for another, when he seems him.
“What’s that?” Clint asks, Steve blindly unaware that he was within ear’s reach, but he sets his glass down onto the bar top anyway.
“Nothin’, nothin’. Another?”
Steve thinks Clint nods before he turns and takes Steve’s glass with him, Steve diverting his eyes to the floor. He blinks a few times, maybe he hadn’t seen correctly, glances back up at the man sitting across the room.
He releases the breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding out, low and slow, as soon as his eyes rake over this man’s face once more. Steve feels his heart hammer against his chest a few times, the aching thing making a reappearance that he tries his hardest to tamp down. He’s almost certain he’s never seen someone more beautiful in his life, has never been swept away by someone’s physical appearance before. He’s met beautiful people, has seen them, has been intimate with them, but this is something entirely different.
This kid has a face that would make angels weep. A pair of sinful lips, rose-tinted cheeks, caramel-highlighted hair that curls and wisps as it pleases and is artfully effortless—Steve wants to tuck this one close to his chest for fear of others setting eyes on him. He has boyish charm that Steve has never come across and when he watches this man laugh, eyes wrinkling in the corners, nose scrunching up delightfully, Steve feels something he hasn’t felt in so long stir in his chest.
The realization that this feeling is indeed hope has another one tucking in alongside it.
This final awareness that Sam has brought to the forefront of his mind has Steve uncharacteristically doubting himself. He’s on shaky ground, slipped footing. Where he is normally confident and self-assured, he is overthinking and questioning every action and thought he comes across. He feels like he once did when he first started dating, unaware of what is acceptable and what is not, overthinking every possible future scenario inside of his deafening brain.
“Here ya go, man,” Clint announces, placing Steve’s glass down in front of him. He pauses before reaching for it, pulls it towards his body a bit, yanks his eyes away from the man across the bar.
“Clint,” he starts before he can stop himself. He picks up his glass, uses it as an excuse to lift his finger. “Do you know them by chance? That redhead and the…the guy with her?”
He sips his whiskey as Clint turns and looks across the bar. He smiles.
“Eh, kinda. I know the girl’s name is Natasha, been tryin’ to get her number for weeks. She’s stubborn. I like her.”
Steve doesn’t hesitate.
“And what about the man with her?”
Clint shrugs his shoulders, “Yeah, not sure. Sorry, guy.”
“Nah, don’t…don’t worry,” he brushes off, lets his hands cup his glass as he feels nerves he hasn’t felt in years slip through his system. He wants to keep his eyes downcast, wants to reel himself in, but he feels an undeniable pull, an unavoidable urge, to take in as much of this man as he can while he’s been given the chance. When he looks back over across the bar, his heart leaps up into his throat as he sees the man looking over at him.
He would like to think it’s the small amount of mustered up confidence that keeps his gaze locked across this busy room, locked onto what he swears is a pair of summer sky eyes, but he’s only fooling himself. It’s like he’s in a trance. Steve swears this is what people feel like when they claim they are “lovestruck”. It feels more like “dumbstruck” though. His palms grow sweaty, his heart races, he tries to find something to do with his hands and fumbles with his whiskey glass.
Either way, he meets this man halfway, looks on for a time that is more that socially appropriate, but one that feels so very right. When Steve lets his eyes wander down this man’s face, the curve of his jaw, to the delightful dimple in his chin, and back up, he’s broken his gaze and is turned towards the redhead with him.
“You…you wanna know what he’s drinking?”
Steve looks over at Clint, had entirely forgotten he was standing so close. Steve swallows, noise loud in his own ears but to no one else, looks down at his hands.
It’s a simple and generous question, one with a heavy implication. Steve cannot ignore the timing of this moment; how divine it almost feels to be sitting here questioning what he wants in a future relationship and being in the middle of promising himself things will be different when he sees this breathtaking man.
"You...you think he'd be interested?"
"Only one way to find out, bud," Clint answers easily enough.
Sending a drink over is harmless, is something he would normally have no reservations in doing, would in fact take it over himself. But if he’s trying to be changed, if he’s seeking out a different kind of relationship, is this the way he wishes to go about it?
When his eyes cross the bar again and land on a blush that makes Steve’s gut curl pleasantly, hid decision is made.
“Yeah, why don’t you lemme know what he’s drinkin’…”
“He keeps looking over here, Buck…”
“Nat, I swear to god,” Bucky starts, unsure of what he is swearing about and unable to finish his sentence because her statement is true. The man at the bar keeps looking over in their direction, has continued to do so since he mortifyingly caught Bucky looking over at him. The only reason Bucky knows this to be true is because of the fact that he too cannot stop looking up and over at the man at the bar.
His stomach flips pleasantly and nervously when he sees the bartender talking to the man at the bar, unable to contain his noise when he sees them gesturing gently over to them.
“Oh god, they’re pointing over here, they’re looking over here!”
“I’m so serious, Bucky. If he doesn’t make a move and if you still sit here struck stupid, I’m going to get involved somehow. This will happen.”
Bucky has no comment in response, finds no use in refusing her efforts when he is almost certain he wants to talk to this man. Who wouldn’t? Panic rises up in his throat, thick and heavy, familiar. Why would a man to whom everyone would wish to talk to have an interest in Bucky? His eyes wander over to the bar once more, greedy for any crumbs of this man he can tuck away into his brain, when he sees the bartender start to walk over to their table, mischievous smirk on his lips, beer in hand.
“Oh my god, Natasha.”
“No fucking way. Clint didn’t take another order of ours, did he? That’s gotta be—”
Clint is all sparkling and tickled eyes when he saddles up to their tall table, sets the beer down in front of Bucky.
“My good sir,” he starts, shifting his body in a way that doesn’t block the man at the bar from Bucky’s view. “Another beer for you from my dear sweet friend sitting at the bar all alone over there.”
Clint gestures towards the man, arm extended, and when Bucky follows the movement, his eyes meet a gentle smile followed by a wink that has a physical force to it.
Bucky’s tongue is thick in his mouth, a pleasant tingle at the nape of his neck, the warmth of his no doubt opaque blush creeping down his neck as he looks down at the beer. The smile that blooms on his lips is a slow one, but a loud one that is accompanied with a giggle, one that a bitten lip cannot hold back.
“I hate this beer,” is what he stupidly says in response, his giggle uncontrollably growing as Nat rolls her eyes and begins to laugh with him. She turns to Clint, lays her hand on his forearm and says, “Thanks, Clint. Looks like I need to take it from here.” The way her touch and his gaze linger is not lost on Bucky.
Clint claps his hand down onto the table, goes to turn away and walk back towards the bar, when Bucky asks, “What’s…what’s his name?”
“That’s not how it works, pal. The drink is an invitation to go over there and find out for yourself.”
Bucky stares down at the amber-colored beer, mind racing, practically begs himself to not look up and across the bar. He feels Nat’s hand on his arm, a squeeze then.
“Are you freaking out?” she asks even though it is quite obvious that he is indeed freaking out. He speaks before he can think to keep his thoughts to himself.
“Why…why did he buy me a drink?”
Nat’s eyebrows knit together, Bucky looking up at her.
“Buck, he’s hitting on you. He wants you to talk to him.”
Bucky shakes his head.
“No like…why did he buy me a drink?”
Nat’s eyes soften as she brings her other hand up to grab for Bucky’s hand. Her eyes are specifically soft for a reason only she is aware of. Bucky reaches to squeeze for her fingers, swallows down the lump in his throat.
“Buck…” she starts, and Bucky knows what is coming yet needs to hear it anyway, even nods his head to encourage her.
“You deserve positive attention. You deserve to be wanted. This man is requesting your attention and you have every right to say no or walk away at any time.”
Bucky will not cry. He’s done that already today. This is too positive of a night and too exciting of a moment to ruin it with more tears. Nat’s words are one hell of comfort, one that settles over his shoulders and runs down his back, into his mind. These are words she has told him before, words she has lovingly given him time and time again when he needed them the most.
Brock didn’t treat you right. You aren’t the names he calls you. One day you’ll find someone who worships you and loves you the way that you deserve, someone who doesn’t make you feel bad for the things that are you and the way you are made. You are stronger and better than he’ll ever be.
It’s been months, almost a year, since Bucky finally walked away from his last relationship, one that was very unkind to him in many ways, one that Nat had begged him to leave for fear of his physical safety.
“It’s words now, Buck. It’s the words and the manipulation but it could become physical. Please.”
He had gone back to therapy, moved back in with Nat, worked on his physical health, even gone on dates and had purely physical relationships with others. All things he is immensely proud of, that anyone would be proud of, yet here he is questioning his self-worth in a bar.
This has turned into one hell of a night.
“I’m gonna go over there,” he decides with a squeeze of Nat’s hand. As soon as the words are out of his mouth, his body is wracked with nerves, so much so he has to let out a whooshof air, a few more to follow.
“Holy shit, I’m gonna go over there.”
“Thank god. I was going to go over there if you weren’t. Buck, look at that man. He’s a sweet talker in the best way possible, I know it, I can tell. And you not only need a sweet talker, you want a sweet talker.”
“Nat, don’t…don’t get my hopes up, please. Shit.”
He slips from his chair, his feet hitting the floor, and the second thoughts come rushing in. He wishes he had put on a nicer outfit, wishes he would have put on some moisturizer, done up his hair—all of those physical alterations that can enhance a first meeting. He’s got on dark jeans, some old college robotics club shirt on, a jean jacket. He’s certain his face makes it look as if he’s been crying recently, and he has, but this man doesn’t need to know that.
He grabs for the beer, takes a few steps.
“Don’t leave without me, please,” Bucky mumbles to Nat as after he kisses her on the cheek. She squeezes his arms once more, nods her head.
“Remember, Buck—you look sexy as hell when you bite your lip.”
Steve signals for Clint to bring him another round the moment he looks up to see the kid walking over to Steve with the drink he had delivered to him in hand.
The rejection stings more than usual. He isn’t used to it and it happens to be right as he is feeling his most vulnerable. It most certainly doesn’t help that the closer this man gets to him, the more Steve wants him. He’s gorgeous, devastating, has features and carries himself in a way that has Steve’s insides yearning, pulling, aching.
Steve turns towards him as he approaches anyway, softens his features, looks as welcoming and confident as he can knowing what is about to happen. He’s bashful, this one. Doesn’t look up at Steve until he’s all but three steps in front of him, but when he does, good lord.
“Hi,” he says, simple and nervous, his crippling smile growing once he sees Steve’s own welcoming one. He sets the beer down on the bar.
“Hi,” Steve starts, ready to get this over with so this kid can get back to his friend. “I’m sorry if this was forward of me and I understand why you wouldn’t be interested in my forwardness, it’s just—”
“No, wait,” the man says with a quick shake of his head, his eyebrows knitting together. Steve stops talking immediately, a bit startled. “I…I’m very interested in your offer of a drink I just…I hate beer.”
“But you’re drinking it?” Steve inquires gently, a smile playing with his lips, unable to hold it back as relief and hope sweep in through his chest. Cutie huffs, rubs the back of his neck and leans, rests an elbow on the bar.
“Yeah, umm…my friend said I’d like it and she uh, she was very wrong.”
With every passing second Steve spends in this man’s presence, the more comfortable he feels, the more he can sense his confidence returning with the undeniable pull between them. It slips off of his tongue easily, naturally—
“Alright, well lemme get you one you actually enjoy drinkin’, sugar.”
The reaction to his words is immediate and absolutely delicious. If Steve was a tad nervous saying these words out loud, throwing around a pet name, this reaction has his mojo solidifying like concrete underneath his feet. The man’s cheeks glow pink, he bites his lip, almost preens into the sweet name Steve gives him. Steve doesn’t know if it’s intentional, but he also tilts his head, exposes his neck as he wiggles where he stands. This one may be bashful but he’s dangerous.
“I’d love a Moscow Mule?”
Steve waves his hand, knows Clint is busying himself nearby on purpose, unable to prevent his knowing grin from shining through. He turns back to the man by his side, holds out his hand.
“My name is Steve.”
“Bucky. My name is Bucky.”
Their hands meet, Bucky’s skin as soft as it looks, grip firm, a tight shake. Steve doesn’t want to let go and that’s cheesy, awful, but it’s true and Steve lets himself feel the want coursing through his body and his heart in full, doesn’t shy away from it. Bucky doesn’t seem to want to let go of Steve’s hand either, but as he does, he sinks down into the seat next to Steve, right where he belongs.
Clint returns with a twinkling eye and Steve orders his drink for Bucky, turning his attention back to him once Clint has walked away with a wink.
“It’s nice to meet you, Bucky. What’s brought you into this bar on this rainy and gloomy Friday night?”
Steve is grateful that Bucky chooses to turn his body towards him instead of sitting next to him, almost face to face and not shoulder to shoulder. It makes him feel more at ease, calmer, to have someone’s attention in such a way, for it to seemingly be on him and no one else. Steve likes that.
“I was feeling pretty gloomy myself,” Bucky tells him, voice gentle and pleasant. Steve is taken aback by his honesty. “My friend and I decided to cheer ourselves up, ease our spirits with some bar food. How about yourself?”
The two of them share a laugh, but Steve is quick to address Bucky’s emotions.
“I’m so sorry you’re feeling gloomy, Bucky. This sounds like a reliable plan to make yourself feel better though,” he hesitates before continuing, cautious of oversharing himself, but Bucky deserves the same level of vulnerability he’s given Steve. “I’ve been feeling down as well. Thought a bit of a moody moment, a drink in a bar on a rainy night, might make me feel better.”
Bucky thanks Clint, drink in his hand as he immediately grabs for it. Steve watches as he eyes it for a moment, takes the tiny straw between two fingers and stirs. When he looks back up at Steve under his lashes, the look is coy, is gutting, his little lip bite sexy as hell.
“Do you feel any better after your drink in a bar on a rainy night, Steve?”
Steve lowers his voice purposefully, meets Bucky’s gaze.
“The drink isn’t the thing that’s makin’ me feel better, sugar…”
Bucky is in love.
He’d never admit it out loud, to Nat, to himself, but he’s certain that Steve is so very special and that this is a moment that Bucky will remember for years to come. Even if they part ways tonight and never see one another again, he knows in his being that he’ll remember this night he spent at the bar with Steve.
Bucky’s never felt more comfortable with another person so quickly. Their shared conversation rarely stops flowing, nor do the winks and the chiding, and Bucky knows Steve has to be exhausted of hearing Bucky giggle or seeing his cheeks glow red at his flirtatious behavior. Bucky doesn’t care. Steve makes him feel at ease and Bucky is three drinks into their conversation and Steve’s eyes are full of warmth and Bucky doesn’t care.
Steve is kind. He listens to Bucky as he talks, eyes on him, not distracted, like what Bucky has to say is the most important thing in the world at the moment. He asks Bucky about school, his majors, what interested him in pursuing such a lofty double-major. Steve even compliments Bucky, tells him how impressive that is, how smart Bucky must be. It has Bucky practically melting right through the floor.
“What do you do, Steve?” he asks, wanting to divert the attention away from himself, wanting an excuse to hear Steve talk more, to say his name. Bucky hadn’t realized the two of them have gotten so close, chairs already near one another, their bodies even closer, leaning towards the other. Steve has to be a warm person. Bucky knows that if he touched Steve, he’d want to wrap all of his limbs around him, would absolutely cling to him.
Bucky wants to touch Steve. He wants to do more than touch Steve.
Bucky needs to start drinking some water.
“I’m a lawyer,” Steve says easily, tilting his head into his hand, watching for Bucky’s reaction as he takes a sip of his own drink. Bucky is impressed, transparent as his eyebrows raise.
“Well, thank you. It’s not a bad gig.”
“If it ain’t that bad, why don’t you sound excited?”
Bucky doesn’t expect Steve to smile softly, for his eyes to wrinkle handsomely at the corners. It makes Bucky’s lips curl in kind, hopefully one that pulls Steve’s answer out of him. To seal the deal, Bucky mirrors Steve’s head tilt with his elbow on the bar.
“That’s a really good question, sugar.”
It’s been dropped a handful of times already and Bucky never wants to be referred to as anything else from this moment on. It makes his tummy turn pleasantly, indeed makes him feel sweet. It feels old fashioned and makes Bucky feel desired and Steve says it with such confidence it makes Bucky ache.
“I think…” Steve hesitates, looks over at Bucky with a thoughtful grin. “I think I’ve reached the point in my life where work isn’t my everything. It has been easy, ya know, up to this point in my life to throw myself into my work and let it be my all. I just…I don’t think I want it to be my all anymore.”
Bucky can’t hear anything but Steve’s words and the meaning behind them. The noise and words of the people around him turn into a dull roar. Steve shares his thoughts with Bucky with such emotion, he almost feels as if he should apologize to Steve for asking that sort of question within their first meeting. Did he push too hard? Should he not have asked? This doesn’t feel like a conversation he should be having with someone he’s met just an hour earlier but that thought is the only thing that makes this feel wrong.
It feels very right to be communicating with Steve this way.
Which is why, heart racing as he asks the questions of, “And what do you want to be your all now?”, he knows the answer will be—
Bucky is going to remember this night for the rest of his life.
He feels as if he is sealing some sort of deal when he murmurs, “Yeah. Love is…love is a pretty valid thing to throw your everything into.”
Steve’s soft smile feels like a warm blanket draped right around Bucky’s shoulders. There have been few times in Bucky’s life where he has not regretted being so vulnerable and open with someone and this moment will be added to that short list. Eyes locked, knees almost knocking, belly warm with vodka, ginger beer, arousal, and sugar, the two of them resort to sitting there and drinking each other in instead of their drinks, of sharing any more words.
Bucky maps out every minute detail he can of Steve’s face, from how soft the hairs in his beard look to the way his eyes seem like storm clouds ready to break, back to his bitten, cherry-red bottom lip. Do people do this? Stare at each other longingly, no words being shared, all in dimly lit bars? Maybe Bucky has been doing this whole dating thing wrong for the past few months. Maybe this feeling is because it is Steve.
Shut up, heart.
“You two want another?”
Bucky doesn’t even jump back at Clint’s boisterous interruption. That’s most definitely the vodka’s fault. Maybe it’s the whiskey coursing through Steve’s own body that that has him reaching forward, closing the short distance between them with a hand. Bucky’s heart doesn’t have enough time to even stutter by the time Steve is brushing Bucky’s hair back from his face, his fingers gently tipping Bucky’s chin as his eyes dance between his own, over the features of his face. Bucky almost whimpers when Steve’s hand falls from his face, when that warm touch is broken.
“I think your friend might be gettin’ a bit restless, Buck,” is what Bucky hears Steve murmur, watches him say, eyes locked on the older man’s lips. A tap on the underside of his chin has him comprehending what Steve’s words mean. He forgot all about Nat to be honest, but that realization doesn’t have him pulling away from Steve in the slightest.
“I think that’ll be our last, Clint. I’ll pay for their meal as well,” Steve tells Clint, eyes not leaving Bucky’s as he speaks, merely glancing down once to retrieve his wallet before his eyes are back on Bucky’s. Bucky’s gut burns pleasantly hot at Steve’s show of money, of his show of providing and taking care of Bucky. It scratches an itch that is a deep one for Bucky, one that hasn’t been scratched properly before, one that Bucky wants Steve to keep scratching.
If Steve asked, Bucky would go home with him. He’s only done that a few times before, but he’d do it for Steve. One question and that’s all it would take for Bucky to go home with Steve.
“Bucky,” Steve starts, and Bucky watches as Steve stands from his chair, and fuck, he’s bigger than Bucky thought he was. Even sitting in a barstool seat, even with Bucky being six-foot himself, Steve is a large man. Bucky’s mouth waters. Just one question, just that one question and Bucky would be out the door with Steve in a heartbeat.
“Can I give you my number?”
That isn’t the question Bucky was expecting but it’s…it’s better. You don’t give your number to people you intend to never talk to again once you spend the night with them. Right? Bucky isn’t sure but he likes this question more, likes the idea of having Steve Rogers’s number in his cell phone to utilize for whatever purpose he deems necessary in the future.
Steve smells so good and he’s so warm, and Bucky isn’t even touching him. He’s incredibly close though, and when he looks up at Steve, tilts his head up while still feeling that tap under his chin from seconds prior, Steve steps in close.
“Yes,” Bucky breathes, almost stutters, as Steve slips his hand into Bucky’s jacket pocket, pulling out his phone on his own accord. Bucky reaches forward and naturally rests his trembling hands onto Steve’s hips, nothing Bucky would ever feel confident doing it this weren’t Steve. He is warm. He’s sturdy as well, feels like all things strength and power underneath Bucky’s hands. Steve holds out Bucky’s phone, Bucky types in his passcode. The confidence has the tremble in Bucky’s hand shifting and rolling throughout his entire body.
Bucky doesn’t want to let go of Steve.
“I’d like to see you again, Bucky. I know we didn’t have long together tonight but I think you’re special and I’d like to take you out on a proper date,” Steve practically purrs as his fingers work on Bucky’s phone, and Bucky feels like he’s about to combust on the spot.
“I’d…I’d like that, Steve,” Bucky breathes, still in awe at his luck, how this night has turned out, and how someone like Steve Rogers wants to take him out on a date. Steve’s smile reaches his eyes and then some, makes his features glow. Bucky’s fingers twitch where they rest on Steve’s hips.
“That’s good, sugar,” Steve tells him and oh, Bucky is going to be thinking of those three words all night, all week, all month. Steve slips Bucky’s phone back into his jacket pocket, taps it and lets his hand linger on Bucky’s body. “You just let me know when you wanna see me and I’ll make it happen, I’ll be there.”
“Now?” Bucky presses too quickly, too eagerly. He’s mortified for a moment, swiftly thinks of a way to play it off as a joke, but Steve’s smile is growing, features going soft and mischievous.
“Buck,” Steve breathes, coos, and this time a soft, strangled noise does slip passed Bucky’s lips. “Now doesn’t give me the proper amount of time I want with you.”
“You’ve been drinkin’ and I don’t think your friend over there would like it if you left with me anyway, no matter how much I’d try to convince her I’d do nothin’ but take good care’a you.”
Bucky doesn’t know why he says the other man’s name a second time, maybe as an excuse to watch the way Steve reacts to it, heavy eyelids and slick lips.
“Text me. Call me. Please, Buck?” he requests, hand rising back up to Bucky’s chin, the back of his knuckles running along the front of Bucky’s throat in a casual show of touch that has Bucky struggling to take air into his lungs.
“I will, I promise.”
“Mmm, I’ll talk to you later then, sugar,” Steve whispers as he ducks his head, presses his lips into Bucky’s heated cheek. Bucky wishes it were a kiss on his lips, wishes he could push Steve back into his chair and follow him, climb right into his lap. But that’s probably the vodka talking. Or his hindbrain.
Steve is slow to pull back, is slow to remove his fingers from Bucky’s chin, is slow as Bucky drops his own. He looks down at Bucky as he does so, lets his fingers slide to squeeze at Bucky’s hand as he turns, tucking his wallet back into his pocket, Clint returning with the bill.
“I’ll see you later, Buck.”
“Bye, Steve,” Bucky smiles and Steve turns on his heel and walks towards the front door and out, Bucky’s eyes on him every step of the way. As soon as the door closes, he has no choice but to turn and press his forehead against the bartop, to let out a heavy and loud exhale as he does so.
“Oh my god.”
“Well, I for one am horny after seeing such a display,” Clint shares, a low whistle following his words. Bucky giggles, Clint’s thought amusing and his own mind and body unsure of what to do with all of this pent-up energy.
“Yeah, you aren’t the only one, Clint. Jesus fucking christ, Bucky. I can’t believe what I just witnessed. Did that just happen?”
Nat settles into Steve’s old seat, Bucky reaching for her as soon as he hears her voice.
“I was hoping you could tell me. Holy shit, Nat. Is this a dream?”
“Hmm, let’s see, kid,” he starts, turning to Nat. “You wanna utilize this newfound horny and capitalize on it together, Natasha?”
Bucky doesn’t see the look that Nat gives him in return but it’s enough to have Clint quickly conceding with a, “Nope, nope— not a dream. This is real life, my friend.”
“Did you get his number? Are you seeing him again?” Nat presses without much patience and Bucky is huffing out a giggle once more, raising his head up to look at Nat. He squeezes her hand.
“He gave me his number, I’m…I’m gonna see him again. Oh my god, Nat—I’m gonna see him again.”
“Hey, it’s…god I’m so sorry I had to push back plans. No, I know it’s like the fourth time I’ve done this, but I swear I have a good reason this time, swear. No, I can—yeah I can meet you there instead. I uh…no I met someone. God, Sam he’s…this one’s different. A fucking hour and I know he’s different. He's so special. I feel…god I feel so good. No, yeah I’m gonna see him again, I’m…I’m gonna see him again.”
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